Bankruptcy is a statutory right available to anyone who faces difficult challenges in life, including divorce, job loss and expenses related to uninsured medical problems. It is an honest and responsible path to a new financial future.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes 3-1/2 months from the date your case is filed to the case closing. However, there are only two simple things you are required to do during that time - attend one meeting (there is no court appearance required in Chapter 7), and complete a 2-hour online financial management course. The Chapter 7 process is simple and quick. Your only costs are the attorney fee and the Court filing fee. Your property is protected and your debt is discharged. The majority of bankruptcy cases are simple Chapter 7s.
Since Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a structured repayment plan, it lasts longer than a Chapter 7. A debtor will typically be involved in the Chapter 13 for three to five years, depending on the length of the repayment plan designed by the bankruptcy attorney and agreed to by the client.
You can think of bankruptcy as the doorway out of a hopeless situation. While contemplating bankruptcy may at first feel awful, it is actually the bankruptcy that gets you out of awful financial circumstances that have likely been developing for years. You will be able to get a credit card and car loans just months after your case is done. You can qualify for a government-sponsored (FHA) home loan after just one year after the discharge of your debt. Your credit will be good for the consumer loans most of us need.
We want you to know what your bankruptcy will cost from the very start. Our rates are reasonable and do not involve hidden fees. This is a time of extreme financial difficulty for you; you need all the help you can get. The bankruptcy fee charged, whether for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, is uniformly minor when compared to the amount of debt being discharged. Clients are usually pleasantly surprised when told the fee for a bankruptcy attorney, compared to fees regularly charged by attorneys for other legal matters. In a sense, the “return on investment” for a bankruptcy is enormous.
One of the most important questions clients have is, “If I file for bankruptcy do I get to keep my home?” Clients are understandably anxious about losing their home, and need to know it will be safe. The short answer and the good news is, “Yes, you can keep your home if you file for bankruptcy.” In fact, in the most common type of bankruptcy filed by the majority of people, the debtor keeps all types of property; the only thing they lose is their debt.
One of the first and most frequently asked questions I get as a Bankruptcy Attorney is, “If I file for bankruptcy do I get to keep my car?” Clients are understandably anxious about losing their car and not being able to get to work, school, medical appointments, etc., or even more importantly, they want to make sure their home will be safe. Clients often have substantial retirement accounts that they absolutely cannot lose. The short answer and the good news is, “Yes, you can keep your automobiles if you file for bankruptcy.” In fact, in the most common type of bankruptcy filed by the majority of people, the debtor keeps all types of property; the only thing they lose is their debt.
Tax-deferred retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, are safe in bankruptcy because they are not included in the bankruptcy estate; Congress recognizes that retirement accounts are so critical to the future financial health of the debtor that they are protected without limit. Consequently, clients who have a 401(k), IRA, PERS, STRS, or equivalent account who file bankruptcy get rid of all their debt and still have tens or sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars in their retirement accounts after the case closes.
A mistaken belief about the bankruptcy process causes some clients to wonder if someone comes to their house to physically inventory their belongings. The answer is a straightforward and simple, “No”. No one comes to your house to look at your stuff.
No one is safe from medical emergencies. Minimum payments on medical debt are not an option. Large credit card and medical expense debt principals, combined with high interest rates, can mean decades or even a lifetime of enslavement to unmanageable debt. However, bankruptcy is a way out - and offers numerous options for eliminating or restructuring debt. Through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, unsecured debt is discharged while you retain your home, car and other key assets. With Chapter 13, you can retain all property while paying down debt at a more manageable level. After three to five years of affordable payments, your remaining debt is eliminated entirely.
A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy filing triggers the ``automatic stay.`` Your creditors must stop garnishing your wages immediately, and during the entire bankruptcy process, or face legal action. When you are granted your discharge and begin your life after bankruptcy, garnishment efforts stop forever.
Bankruptcy solves both the immediate problem (creditor harassment) and the underlying problem (overwhelming debt). If creditors fail to stop harassing you once you have retained a lawyer, and once your bankruptcy case has been filed, they can be sued for monetary damages.
If a lender wins a judgment to levy your bank account, your bank must cooperate and provide access to account funds. Most often, the only way to prevent the loss of assets through a bank levy is to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Student loan debts can be discharged in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy if paying it back would cause you undue hardship. What you have to demonstrate to the Bankruptcy Judge is that it is more than just difficult to repay; it must be nearly unfair under the circumstances. If you are physically, emotionally or mentally disabled, the Bankruptcy Court Judge will allow you to discharge all of your student loan debt.